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Obituaries

From the April 1998 ACP Observer, copyright 1998 by the American College of Physicians.

Irving S. Wright, MACP

Irving S. Wright, MACP, a leader in cardiology and gerontology and designer of the mace used at ACP Convocations, died Dec. 8, 1997. He was 96.

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Wright pioneered research on the vessels of the heart and brain. In 1938, he treated the first U.S. patient to receive anticoagulation.

During World War II, Dr. Wright served as consultant to the Surgeon General. After the war, he organized teams on the West Coast to examine and record the mental status of American prisoners of war returning from Japan. He also co-chaired a commission to help rehabilitate medical schools in Germany and Austria, which had been severely damaged by the war.

In 1946, Dr. Wright was named professor of clinical medicine at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where he worked for the rest of his career. Among his many leadership positions in national medical societies, he served as ACP President from 1966-67, ACP Regent from 1959-65 and 1967-70, and Governor for the College's New York Eastern Chapter from 1951-59.

When Dr. Wright was appointed to procure a mace for ACP's Convocation Ceremonies in 1962, it was his idea to acquire a piece of timber from the famous Plane Tree on the Island of Cos. Ultimately, he was able to obtain a large branch from an old plane tree near where Hippocrates taught, which was used to create the mace used at current Convocation Ceremonies.

Robert B. Kerr, MACP

Robert B. Kerr, MACP, a founding chair of the department of medicine at the University of British Columbia and former ACP Governor for New Hampshire, died Dec. 19, 1997. He was 89.

Dr. Kerr served as ACP's first Governor for New Hampshire early in his career, from 1934-42. During that time he also performed fundamental diabetes research on protamine zinc insulin.

During World War II, Dr. Kerr was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1944 for successfully treating an outbreak of 430 diphtheria cases. In 1950, he was appointed founding chair of the department of medicine at the University of British Columbia, a position he held until his retirement in 1974.

J. David Bristow, FACP

J. David Bristow, FACP, a leader in the field of cardiology and a former ACP Governor for Oregon, died Dec. 30, 1997. He was 69.

Dr. Bristow was known for his work in heart disease research, particularly his work on valve replacement and intervention for left ventricular dysfunction. He served as chair of the department of medicine at the Oregon Health Sciences University from 1971-75 and headed the university's cardiology training program from 1981-92. He was a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, from 1977-81.

Dr. Bristow was ACP's Governor for Oregon from 1976-77. He also served on numerous peer review committees at the National Institutes of Health, and chaired the cardiology advisory council of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

He also served on advisory councils for the National Institutes of Health. The National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, elected him to membership in 1976.

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